International Women’s Day 2020 is a worldwide event that celebrates women’s achievements from the political to the social. So while calling for gender equality.
It has been observed since the early 1900s and is now recognised each year on March 8 (this Sunday). It is not affiliated with anyone group. But brings together governments, women’s organisations, corporations and charities. The daymark around the world with arts performances, talks, rallies, networking events, conferences and marches.
But how did the celebratory day begin? And when are women uniting against this year? Here is everything you need to know.
How did it start?
It’s difficult to say exactly when IWD (as it’s known) began. Its roots can be traced to 1908 when 15,000 women march through New York City demanding voting rights. So better pay and shorter working hours.
A year later, the first National Woman’s Day observes in the US on February 28. So in accordance with a declaration by the Socialist Party of America.
In 1910, a woman called Clara Zetkin – leader of the ‘women’s office’ for the Social Democratic Party in Germany. So table the idea of an International Women’s Day. She suggested that every country should celebrate women on one day every year to push for their demands.
Clara Zetkin founded International Women’s Day in 1910.
A conference of more than 100 women from 17 countries agreed to her suggestion and IWD form. In 1911, it celebrates for the first time in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on March 19.
In 1913, it decides to transfer IWD to March 8, and it has been celebrated on that day ever since. The day only recognised by the United Nations in 1975. But ever since it has created a theme each year for the celebration.
In 2011, former US President Barack Obama proclaimed March to be ‘Women’s History Month’.
What is the theme for International Women’s Day 2020?
In 1975, the United Nations officially recognized International Women’s Day. And, in 1996, began to adopt an annual theme for every year. The first theme was “Celebrating the Past, Planning for the Future”. This year’s theme #EachforEqual is meant to be a shared goal throughout 2020.
“We can actively choose to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations. And celebrate women’s achievements,” states the organization’s site. “Collectively, each one of us can help create a gender-equal world. Let’s all be #EachforEqual”.
The IWD 2020 campaign theme draws on the notion of “collective individualism,” which refers to the idea that every individual is a part of a whole. And that an individual’s actions, behaviours, and mindsets can all have an impact on the larger society.
What is this year’s theme?
The theme for IWD 2020 is #EachforEqual, recognising all of the actions. So we can take as individuals to challenge stereotypes, fight prejudice and celebrate women’s achievements.
The year 2020 is an important one for gender equality. It is the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platforms for Action. So the most advance blueprint for achieving gender equality in the world. It also marks 10 years since the establishment of UN Women. And the 20th anniversary of the UN Security Council resolution 1325 on women, peace and security.
Last year, the theme was #BalanceForBetter, which aim to encourage gender balance in boardrooms. But in the media and in wealth as a way for economies to thrive. It echoed the aims of the Telegraph’s Women Mean Business campaign. So which launch on IWD 2018 to help close the funding gap for female entrepreneurs in Britain.
As a result of our campaign, banks will now be compelled to publish regular updates on how much they invest in businesses run by women. So as part of a series of new measures to help female entrepreneurs. Read more about the Telegraph’s victory here. Or watch the video below in which our Women’s Editor and Associate Features Editor Claire Cohen. So explains all about the campaign and why we started it.
Why do we still celebrate it?
Simply, because the original aim – to achieve full gender equality for women the world – has still not been realised. A gender pay gap persists across the globe and women are still not present in equal numbers in business or politics. Figures show that globally, women’s education, health and violence towards women is still worse than that of men.
According to the World Economic Forum, the gender gap won’t close until 2186. On IWD, women across the world come together to force the world to recognise these inequalities. So while also celebrating the achievements of women who have overcome these barriers.
According to a 2017 report by the World Economic Forum. But it could still take another 100 years before the global equality gap between men and women disappears entirely.
In 2019, women effectively work “for free”
In 2019, women effectively work “for free” from November 14 until the end of the year. Because of the gender pay gap. Women are also paid less than half than men at some of Britain’s major companies. So according to recent gender pay gap figures.
For the past couple of years, women’s rights have dominated the news. So following a global reckoning on sexual misconduct rippling through industries. Following the outpouring of allegations against Harvey Weinstein and other prominent men in power (and Weinstein’s watershed trial). So the #MeToo movement gave a voice to women on the abuse and harassment they suffer in film, fashion, music, politics and art.
There a vocal, headline-grabbing fight for women’s rights in 2018. But with female actresses donating money and wearing black at awards ceremonies in support of #TimesUp and BBC journalist Carrie Gracie publicly resigning as China editor over unequal pay.
Last year, the pursuit continues, with members of the Democratic party in the US wearing white at Donald Trump’s State of the Nation address. Plus, many donned red robes to imitate the dress of The Handmaid’s Tale. To protest the state of Alabama bringing in the strictest abortion laws in the US.
With gender parity still an apparent 167 years away. So many are hoping the trajectory surrounding women’s rights climbs as the year continues.
Is there an International Men’s Day?
Yes! It takes place on November 19 each year and is celebrated in 60 countries around the world. The objectives of the day include a focus on men’s and boy’s health, improving gender relations, promoting gender equality, and highlighting positive male role models.
It is an occasion for men to celebrate their achievements and contributions. So in particular, their contributions to the community, family, marriage, and child care while highlighting the discrimination against them.
The month of November is also a chance for men to take part in the popular ‘Movember’ charity event. So by growing facial hair for charity sponsorship.
How can you get involved?
There are many ways you can take part in IWD.
1. Make a pledge for parity
This involves going to the IWD website and pledging to help women and girls achieve their ambitions. So call for gender-balance leadership and create flexible cultures.
2. Join one of the many events happening around the world
The IWD website shows where events are happening in countries and towns. So check out what’s happening near you to see how you can participate. Plus, there will be an organise #March4Women march in London on Sunday, March 8.
This Sunday is #InternationalWomensDay so what are you doing to celebrate women’s achievements and to help forge equality? 🤝#EachforEqual 👉 https://t.co/XTV27VbeLq #IWD2020 pic.twitter.com/wiSo6nbZre
— Women’s Day (@womensday) March 6, 2020
3. Host your own event
It’s still not too late. IWD encourages people to host a prominent speaker and create an event of their own.
What’s happening in the UK?
There are a host of free and ticket events taking place across the country. So including talks, workshops and film screenings. Head to Brecon for a fortnight-long Women’s Festival. Bath for a walk through the historic town; Glasgow for a day making campfires and collecting herbs in the great outdoors. Brighton for a lunch led by entrepreneur and fashion designer Elif Köse; and Manchester for an evening of music, celebrating female talent.
For a full list of events in your local area. Check out the official International Women’s Day website. Tickets for the Southbank Centre’s Women of the World Festival. So taking place 6-8 March, are also on general sale. Take your pick of the best talks, exhibitions and concerts celebrating women worldwide.
How is International Women’s Day celebrated around the world?
International Women’s Day is an official holiday in at least 20 countries, including Afghanistan, Cuba, Laos, Russia, and Vietnam. In many of these countries, tradition holds that men honour their mothers, wives, girlfriends. And colleagues with flowers and small presents. So in other nations, the day is much like the holiday of Mother’s Day. So in which children give gifts to their mothers and grandmothers. In other countries, however, like Nepal and China, IWD is a holiday only for women.
As for the United States, International Women’s Day isn’t recognized as an official holiday, although it’s been proposed. This doesn’t stop the flurry of lively celebrations from taking place across the U.S., though, as numerous political rallies, business conferences. And the government and corporate events happen all across the country to honour the special day and bring together women of all different backgrounds and cultures.